Based on the 2013 memoir by Molly Bloom, Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation and his directorial debut, Molly’s Game should be prime material for Sorkin.
This fast-paced, entertaining film follows Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain, in another excellent performance), the self-made entrepreneur of Hollywood A-list poker games before landing in the middle of an FBI operation with ties to the Russian mafia.
We get a good sense of Molly’s rise to power; she’s newly transplanted from Colorado to Los Angeles after a skiing injury wrecks her chances of making the Olympic ski team. She’s your typical one in a million LA girl, looking for fun and success while postponing law school at her parent’s disappointment.
She works small jobs, one as a cocktail waitress where she meets her future boss, a cocky and well-connected man who treats her like shit but also depends on her to live. It’s not until he asks for her help to set up a small underground high buy-in poker game for some wealthy and famous friends that her world begins to change.
The celebrities and other high powered men named in Bloom’s book aren’t in the movie which works but doesn’t give you the same weight as the book does by dropping these names. When Molly in voiceover tells us about the celebrities, rock stars and other famous people playing at the games, we get a sense of the power and wealth, but it’s just not the same.
Sorkin cuts between Molly’s quick rise to become the tabloid known “Princess of Poker,” with her struggles as a child, her failing relationship with her father, her ruined days as a skier and meetings with her high powered attorney Charlie Jaffey, played by the great Idris Elba trying to save her ass from the legal mess she’s gotten herself in to.
Jessica Chastain is fantastic in the role of Molly Bloom, excellently handling Sorkin’s quick dialogue and voice-over which carries the movie in a suspenseful and always engaging way. Chastain is in nearly every scene, and this may be her best work to date.
Sorkin’s screenplay is top notch once again; it’s full of Sorkinisms, walk and talks, intense back and forth dialogue, voice-over narration that runs the entire movie allowing Molly to tell her story. It’s a film about smart people having intelligent conversations. If you hated Sorkin’s style before, you might want to skip Molly’s Game altogether.
After decades in the business as a writer, producer, etc.. it’s surprising that it’s taken Sorkin this long to direct a film and he comes off like a seasoned professional. He knows actors, who can best work his dialogue and he has a natural eye for working from behind the camera. He breaks down the poker games in a clear way for the audience to try and understand even though at some points things seem overly complicated.
Molly’s Game is one of the best films of the year, with a compelling script and direction from Sorkin, a great cast led by a perfect Jessica Chastain.
Written & Directed by Aaron Sorkin
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner
Running Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Release Date (Wide): 12.25.17
Check out the Trailer Below:
Buy the Memoir on Amazon: